Mayor de Blasio announced a new program that will grant inmates a short-term job after completing time in city jails.
Inmates who serve a sentence at Rikers Island or other city jails will be guaranteed a short-term job when they’re released, Mayor de Blasio announced Wednesday.
The job guarantee is part of a $10 million “Jails to Jobs” initiative he announced today at The Fortune Society in Queens.
“The notion here is give people an immediate place to go,” de Blasio said. “Imagine you’re finally going through those doors back out to freedom: ‘Here’s where we want you to go and you’re going to have a job when you get there.’”
Most city jail inmates won’t be eligible for temporary gigs — the program will not be offered to those who are awaiting trial and, if convicted, will serve their time in upstate prisons. It will cover the roughly 2,500 people a year who served out a sentence of a year or less in city custody. The temporary jobs can last up to eight weeks.
The city will also offering counseling from day one of incarceration, and will offer up to five hours of programming a day to all inmates, including those awaiting trial, by this summer — a plan that’s been in the works for years.
The job guarantee is part of a $10 million “Jails to Jobs” initiative.
(James Keivom/New York Daily News)
Asked what he’d say to job-seekers who hadn’t been convicted of crimes, de Blasio said the program was “a smart investment for everyone” because it could reduce recidivism.
The reforms come as de Blasio is being pressured to shut down Rikers Island by advocates for the incarcerated — including The Fortune Society’s Stanley Richards, who was incarcerated on Rikers in his past and was on hand for the event.
“For me, this is a moment to celebrate,” Richards said. “This isn’t about the conditions of confinement. This is about how we invest in people, how we build people.”
De Blasio, who has argued that closing Rikers Island would be costly and that placing jails in neighborhoods would be difficult, said he will release his plan for how to overhaul the city’s jails soon.